By Trudy Ring
Originally published on Advocate.com November 07 2012 5:06 PM ET
The San Francisco Health Commission today voted unanimously to remove transgender exclusions from the Healthy San Francisco program, which provides health care for uninsured residents.
The program previously covered hormone treatment and mental health services related to gender transition, but it did not cover gender-reassignment surgery or certain related surgical procedures that were available to clients who were not transgender, such as breast reduction.
The vote implements a resolution sponsored by San Francisco Board of Supervisors member Scott Wiener and passed by the full board. The Health Commission is the governing and policy-making body of the Department of Public Health, which runs the Healthy SF program. The San Francisco Health Council, a group of community advocates convened by Transgender Law Center and Lyon-Martin Health Services’ collaborative program Project Health, had been working since 2010 to have the transgender exclusions removed.
“Removing these exclusions will make a real difference in the lives of transgender San Franciscans, especially those who struggle to make ends meet,” said Masen Davis, executive director of the Transgender Law Center, in a news release. “I am grateful for the leadership of our Health Council members, Supervisor Weiner, and many others who have all worked together to make this happen.”
In a report called “The State of Transgender California,” the Transgender Law Center found that transgender Californians experience unemployment and poverty at rates twice the state average, 42% have delayed seeking health care because they could not afford it, and 26% report health conditions had worsened because they postponed care.